Recent Mexican Migration to U.S. Labor Markets: Cumulative Causation Dynamics at Metropolitan Destination

James D. Bachmeier, University of California, Irvine
Frank D. Bean, University of California, Irvine

This paper examines the size and nature of Mexican migration flows to U.S. labor markets. We apply and extend the tenets of cumulative causation theory to the development of hypotheses about migration to destinations instead of from origins. Focusing on recent Mexican flows to U.S metropolitan areas, and generally consistent with the hypotheses implied by destination-oriented theory, we find that the prevalence of recent origin-country migrants and the maturity of the co-ethnic settlement community independently accounts for a substantial portion of inter-metropolitan variation in the size and gender composition of migration flows compared to other structural factors. Moreover, prior migration positively relates to the volume of such flows, meaning that greater migration induces additional exogenous numbers of labor migrants. The results also indicate that this in turn generates Mexican out-migration from metropolitan destinations. The findings carry relevance for existing theory and public policy on Mexican migration to the United States.

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Presented in Poster Session 5